Tuesday, July 19, 2016
As the standard firearm of its day, the AR-15 does not represent some bizarre over-extension of the right to keep and bear arms. It is the very core of that right.
In the middle of June, a self-described radical Islamist ruthlessly gunned down a room full of Americans in the worst terrorist attack on United States soil since 9/11. In response, the Obama administration joined the usual suspects within the media and inveighed relentlessly against the perpetrator of the crime. It was time, the president said, to get serious in fighting terrorism, and that meant “making it harder for people who want to kill Americans to get their hands on assault weapons.” Once again, the AR-15 was under the microscope.
If it seemed a touch peculiar that the president would reserve his most vehement words of condemnation for a firearm, rest assured that it was. But, alas, it was also par for the course. In the eyes of America’s ever-zealous gun-controllers, the AR-15 represents all that is wrong with the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and, indeed, with the country’s culture at large.
In consequence, banning it is imperative not only in the fight against “gun violence,” but as a means by which individualism itself can be checked. Time and time again, those who own AR-15s—or similar—are cast as reactionaries, or bitter clingers, or, worst of all, as full-on terrorists. “Why,” the critics invariably inquire, “are we allowing this supergun and its unbalanced owners to destroy the public peace?”
In pushing back against this rather ignorant way of thinking, I could marshal an almost endless supply of inconvenient facts. I could point out, for example, that despite all of the propaganda to the contrary, the AR-15 is not a “supergun,” a “machine gun,” an “automatic weapon” or an “assault rifle”; that it does not “spray bullets” indiscriminately, as one sees in the movies; that it is owned by a fascinating cross-section of American citizens; that it is not especially powerful, especially when compared to rifles that are primarily used for hunting; and that it is used so infrequently in crimes that the FBI doesn’t even bother to keep statistics.
Moreover, I could explain that there are a host of reasons why the AR-15 is the most popular rifle in the country. Among them, that its ergonomic design makes it universally easy to use; that its modular structure renders it simple to repair or to customize; and that its pinpoint accuracy makes it the ideal choice for those who are weaker or lacking in training. But I won’t. For now, at least, I shall leave those arguments to those who are more technically qualified than am I, and focus instead on the principle that is at stake in the debate over the AR-15.
That principle? That Americans are in charge of their representatives, and not the other way around.
Continue reading at: https://www.nraila.org/articles/20160719/the-ar-15-is-the-musket-of-its-era